Even if we can’t go out to bars right now, at least we can vicariously experience them through Bar Rescue, a reality TV show that follows host Jon Taffer as the entrepreneur travels the country and transforms dingy, failing bars into upscale destinations. It’s basically Kitchen Nightmares but for bars only. While it’s super entertaining (albeit stressful) to watch, fans have wondered if Bar Rescue is scripted.
Since the show’s premiere in 2011, viewers debated whether the show’s producers and editors have spiced things up a bit for entertainment value. If you’ve been watching Bar Rescue all these years, then you’ll probably know Jon meets some pretty out-there folks who have major issues — not only with their bars, but their personnel, person lives, and more. Even Jon himself is portrayed as a blunt, no sh*ts given kind of guy who isn’t afraid of confronting anyone. This sometimes results in fights and heated arguments.
So, could Bar Rescue really be scripted?
It’s true that most reality TV shows offer guidance (if not very, very heavy guidance) when filming. Editors will cut the boring parts and emphasize on exciting moments, even though they may be out of context. In the case of Bar Rescue, it’s definitely possible some of the show is even scripted. In 2014, a guest on the show says he was told to flirt with Jon’s wife and then was physically attacked by Jon. According to Deadline, the guest sustained injuries that he had to go to the hospital for, and he ended up filing a lawsuit against the production company.
Another example is the 2016 episode that features Nina Wyatt’s Schafer’s Bar and Grill. She claimed that she was fed lines that didn’t exactly align with the true story. The new owner of the bar, Ryan Burks stated, “During my first interview I was asked how much money we are losing each month. My exact words to the producer were, ‘What would you like me to say?’ Producer’s response: ‘For our story you are losing $10,000 a month and losing your house and closing down next month.’ All of which isn’t true.”
The owner of Piratz Tavern also said, “It was basically coerced and staged to be an opening act for a re-rescue. I was told to bring in several changes of clothes to make it appear that filming covered several days. As usual they brought in a bunch of extras to fill the house and we were told what to say and with whom to speak.”
Even a redditor who claimed they were familiar with one of the bars featured on the show wrote, “…having known a bar that went through the show process, it is largely fake in the sense, the bar and the surroundings are largely not what the show portrays them as.” There have also been several blog posts that have described their accounts, stating Bar Rescue‘s portrayal is totally inaccurate and at times, fabricated.
Jon Taffer, nor the network have confirmed or denies that Bar Rescue is scripted. Does knowing that Bar Rescue is most likely at least a little fudged make it any less entertaining? Eh, probably not. Watch new episodes of Bar Rescue every Sunday at 10 p.m. on Paramount Network.